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Veteran talent evaluator takes over Sounders Academy

Steve Cooke has been working with the Sounders and has extensive experience in the United States and England.

SOCCER: SEP 03 MLS - Rapids at Revolution Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Seattle Sounders have appointed Steve Cooke as their new academy director, Garth Lagerwey said during the most recent episode of Sounders Weekly. The veteran talent evaluator was first hired by the Sounders last year to be the academy’s head coach, and has an impressive resume that includes stops in England and at virtually all levels of American soccer.

Cooke got his formal coaching career started with Sheffield Wednesday’s academy during a time when they were a mid-table club in England’s top flight. He eventually moved to the United States in 1996 to take over as the coaching director for a Phoenix-based youth club and then to Las Vegas to head up an academy there. The Colorado Rapids hired him in 2010 and he eventually rose up the ranks to the point that he was named interim coach in 2017, replacing Pablo Mastroeni.

From there, Cooke moved to the USL Championship’s OKC Energy as head coach and then to Phoenix Rising, where he was the Director of Soccer. He left that job to join the Sounders Academy last summer, seemingly over-qualified but potentially in anticipation that this job would eventually open.